Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
New York, New York
August 28, 2005
From journal Doing the Bay the Right Way
June 17, 2005
There are three menu options: a seven-course tasting, a nine-course vegetable tasting, and a nine-course chef’s tasting menu. Each menu is $175 each, and there is a 19% service charge is added to the bill. The menu varies each day, according to whatever products are available. In our case, we opted for the chef’s tasting menu; this day, however, two of the course had a choice between two items.
The menu started with an "amuse" from the kitchen, which did amuse us - it was a "salmon ice cream" cone – salmon tartar served with crème fraise in a cracker-like cone. No, you can’t get this at Dairy Queen. Each course in the tasting featured two or three specific ingredients.
The first few courses highlighted vegetables/salad, such as cauliflower panna cotta with oyster glaze and sevruga caviar (yes, I am looking at the copy of our menu) and a salad of Big Island hearts of peach palm, field rhubarb confit, celery branch, and perigord truffle "syrup."
Seafood entered the stage: sautéed fillet of Chatham Bay cod with wilted Lolla Rossa lettuce, San Marzano tomato marmalade, and an applewood-smoked bacon emulsion was one course; lobster "mitts" with hon shimeji mushrooms, wild lily buds, and herb salad was another.
The meat dishes were squab with medjool date and Sicilian pistachio pastille, with a fennel bulb and grains of paradise-infused sauce, and a pan-roasted lamb chop with a cassoulet of spring pole beans and thyme infused extra virgin olive oil.
A cheese course and a sorbet course prepared us for the chocolate dessert finale.
We decided to let the sommelier choose the wines to match the courses – we discussed our likes and dislikes and our per-person price range and let him do the rest… and we were not disappointed. Each wine really complemented the course, even the port wine with the dessert.
The staff seemed to enjoy serving us as much as we enjoyed their hospitality.
From journal San Jose Extreme Dining
February 3, 2001
My husband had a sautéed duck breast, beautifully sliced and artistically arranged on the plate. It was cooked medium rare, as duck breast should be. I had a nice p'tit Basque cheese (a semi-hard, nutty cheese) accompanied by pear relish, and my husband had Camembert with an apple "compote." The tiny portion of cheese and harmonizing side dish was not overwhelmingly rich. We both had a signature dessert: "coffee and doughnuts." This is a coffee cup filled with coffee-flavored semifreddo (like a frozen mousse) topped with foamed milk, served with two hot-from-the-fryer raised doughnuts dusted with cinnamon and sugar. (This recipe is available on the Internet, and I have made the semifreddo, but not the doughnuts -- it was not too difficult and it turned out pretty good.) Finally, we were served a tray of mignardises -- tiny pastries and cookies -- and a ceramic box of macaroons and chocolates. This is truly a meal for the most special of occasions. If you are never able to eat at French Laundry, I hope you have been able to share the experience vicariously.
From journal Fabulous Food in Yountville
Reservations are close to impossible (see my Overview for hints). Be forewarned, is very expensive. As of Dec. 2001, the Chef's Tasting Menu is $120 and the 5-course menu is $105 (with a vegetarian 5-course menu at $80) + 17% service charge + wine. The restaurant was actually a French laundry at the beginning of the century. It is a modest stone building and does not even have the restaurant's name outside. Inside, it is a collection of small rooms, done in muted colors, with the elegant napery one would expect of the finest of restaurants. By the way, the lunch menu and dinner menu, as well as service style and prices are the same for lunch or dinner. If a dinner reservation is unavailable and you are offered a lunch table, take it. You won't be missing a thing.
No choices are offered for each course on the 9-course Chef's Tasting Menu. The other option is the 5-course menu, for which several choices are offered for each course. (See separate journals.) The portion size for the 9-course is scaled down, so it is about the same amount of food as the 5-course, but more variety. The courses are served in very large white bowls, which dwarf the servings. But even thought he portions appear to be small, they are so rich and intensely flavored that you won't leave hungry.
Our meal started with an "amuse bouche" (complementary taste teaser) of a 2" pastry cone (like for ice cream) filled with crème fraiche and topped with very finely minced salmon tartare and minced chives. The first course was a cauliflower panna cotta (custard) with oyster glaze and a sprinkling of caviar. Then a salad of baby asparagus with shiitake mushrooms -- it was April and asparagus were in. The fish course was sautéed Artic char, with a wonderfully crispy exterior, served with a small salad of potatoes and smoked salmon. I must remember to see if the salad recipe is in chef/owner Keller's "French Laundry Cookbook"! A signature dish followed -- "macaroni and cheese" like none you have ever had: a small portion of lobster that had been poached in butter served with orzo pasta with a mascarpone cheese sauce. Following this was a 2" square of extremely tender pork with braised endive. By this time, I was gasping from the flavor overload and wondering how I would have room for the rest. Even though the portions are small, the flavors are so intense and rich that you feel as if you will not have to eat again for a week. A beautiful boneless lamb chop arrived next, served with a "cassoulet" of beans. I barely was able to finish it. The cheese course was a fresh local goat cheese with an onion confit. The pre-dessert was a yogurt sorbet, followed by the dessert of chocolate cake with Seville orange glaze. Then came the mignardises -- a tray of impossibly tiny pastries and cookies (including a lemon meringue pie the size of a quarter) and finally a small ceramic box of macaroons and truffles. Whew! And this was lunch!